Excitement builds ahead of Norfolk’s blues extravaganza

Hamilton Loomis is going to headline the opening gig of the 2019 Dereham Blues Festival. Picture: An

Hamilton Loomis is going to headline the opening gig of the 2019 Dereham Blues Festival. Picture: Anthony Rathbun - Credit: Archant

Pubs, clubs and other venues around Dereham are about to come alive with toe-tapping tunes for what is thought to be one of the biggest festivals of its kind in the UK.

Thousands of music lovers are expected to flock to the mid Norfolk town for the Dereham Blues Festival between the opening concert on Wednesday, July 10 and the final gigs on Sunday, July 14.

Harry Collins, the festival's chairman, said the event was one of a kind.

Mr Collins said: "There are a lot of other blues festivals that take place in big fields or big arenas, but this type of festival is certainly unique and you probably won't find another one like it anywhere else in the country.

"There's free entry and there's all different types of blues going on.

Dereham is about to come alive for the town's annual Blues Festival. Picture: Ian Burt

Dereham is about to come alive for the town's annual Blues Festival. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt


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"It's all there so you can work the event out for your yourself and organise your evening's entertainment."

Mr Collins said Hamilton Loomis, who is headlining the festival's opening gig at Dereham Memorial Hall on the Wednesday, would be a highlight.

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He said: "He is a young blues musician, which is what we need. He is certainly something different and that's refreshing."

Loomis, who is from the US and mixes blues with soul and rock, said: "I learned long ago that whenever music is coming from you, from deep inside your soul and from the right place, people will feel that on a deeper level and might not even know what's going on inside of themselves."

Performers at a previous Dereham Blues Festival. Picture: Ian Burt

Performers at a previous Dereham Blues Festival. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Other venues hosting gigs include the Mid Norfolk Railway, Lou's Juke Joint, and all town centre pubs including the Bull, the Cherry Tree, and the George.

Among the dozens of performers include the rock blues outfit Fourplay, the finger-picking maestros of the Jamie Roe Band, 'bottleneck' blues guitarist Martin McNeill and acoustic blues duo Saltshaker.

Mr Collins added: "During the festival the town is just buzzing. Particularly on the Saturday, you can just feel the energy."

The festival was started by the Norfolk Blues Society's founding members, Doreen and Stewart Aitken.

Tickets can for the opening concert - and for full details of the gigs taking place - visit www.derehambluesfestival.org.uk.

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